Happy New Year Soldiers!
I hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable start to their 2020. I wish the best for everyone going into the new decade. It's my pleasure to deliver this new update for Brass Brigade to help welcome in the new year. I hope you enjoy all the new things it brings to the table - without further a-do, let's discuss what's in store.
First Person Mode
As discussed in the previous announcement (read about it here), players can now switch between the standard third-person camera to a first-person camera. This was more-or-less an experiment that I thought went reasonably well, and while Brass Brigade was never designed as an FPS, it seemed to work well enough that I wanted to keep it in the game.
By default, press the T key to switch between the modes. The camera will move into your character's head-space and you will get what I describe as an Arma-like FPS mode. The camera isn't perfectly steady - there's weapon sway and slight head sway. It has a rather realistic feeling and offers better indoor navigation and shooting over/around low obstacles. I hope you enjoy this new mode as it grows and is polished more over time. It really transforms the perception and puts you right in the heart of the chaos.
New Map - Ponyri Apocalypse
The Eastern Front receives a new map in this update as well. Based on the Battle of Ponyri during the Battle of Kursk, Ponyri Apocalypse sees the Red Army fending off an ever-pressing German advance. Burning crop fields and fog disrupt sight lines through the trenches and fields that compose the battlefield. The fighting and body count got so high during the battle that Soviet troops dubbed it the "mini-Stalingrad."
The map is rather large and features the most capture points of any Brass Brigade map thus far! There are ten capture points ranging from trench networks, a destroyed German convoy, a downed German transport plane, a dried river bed, a town, and more. Each team starts with 2 entry points into the map and will have to negotiate thick grass, burning debris, soggy marshes, and open fields to get from point to point. It offers everything from close quarters fighting to long range rifle combat. Gear up and try to survive this nearly apocalyptic landscape.
By popular request, users can now set the number of bodies that will persist on the battlefield. In the Settings > Gameplay menu, there is now a "Corpse Multiplier" slider that will control the corpse count multiplier. For instance, if you have 10 bots with a corpse multiplier of 2, that means there will be 20 bodies on the ground before they start to get recycled for different corpses. In effect, this means that every bot can get killed twice before a single body would disappear. So for a game of say, 64 bots and a multiplier of 2, there can be up to 128 bodies on the ground at any given time.
This does come with a warning though! A large number of ragdolls can cause poor performance. You will need to find a balance for your system and your desired bot counts. Too many ragdolls can result in long load times and sub-par performance, but as is the Brass Brigade mantra - if you can run it, you can have it. Please note also that persistent bodies only work if ragdolls are enabled.
Instant Action Custom Presets
Another feature added in this update by popular request is the ability to save your configuration of an instant action game. You can then apply that configuration to any other game you like. This will save you time and prevent you from having to re-apply every setting for a battle if you've found a balance you like. Simply save it, and re-select it whenever you wish to apply it! Hopefully this streamlines your experience and simplifies the process of starting a game.
Performance and Optimization
Some more work has been given to optimization efforts, as discussed in the previous announcement. Perhaps the most effective new option is the ability to disable bullet impact effects. These can have a relatively high CPU cost when there are lots of bots firing in unison. You can disable these effects in the Settings > Graphics & Audio Menu.
Other under-the-hood optimization work...
- Simplified physics calculations for tanks, increasing performance for maps with lots of tanks
- Tweaked bot path-finding to reduce navigation performance costs.
- Simplified some particle effects, namely smoke clouds and explosions, to reduce their performance impact.
- Reworked bullet & tracer physics which resulted in half the physics cost for projectile based weapons.
In the future, I hope to add an option for highly detailed particles, simple particles, and turning-off the bullet impact particles (as is the case now), so users can find a better happy medium, rather than an all-or-nothing approach. But for now, disabling the bullet impact effects when there are high bot counts can buy back a few frames on average.
Because of all these awesome new features listed above, I have afforded myself the framework to add other user requested features. Some of the things that are currently in the works (but not quite ready for this update...) are as follows:
- Sniper Rifles (players will need to be in FPS mode to use the scope)
- Further optimization and CPU usage reduction through particle optimization, as current profiler reports indicate that camera rendering cost could be further reduced.
- Another new map based on airborne operations...maybe you'll see some paratroopers in the future...who knows?
- The ability to issue basic commands to nearby allies, such as following you or attacking a position; this is still highly experimental and conceptual.
Here are some teaser images of what may come...
Many of these requests are driven by the awesome, constructive feedback that you guys have given me. Feel free to drop more suggestions on the pinned suggestion thread found here.
I hope you enjoy this update and all it has to offer. I look forward to bringing you more throughout 2020.
Until next time,